'Iceman' Janka keeps cool to deliver gold in style

Click to follow
The Independent Online

He came in as the best young pure skier in these Olympics and this is how 23-year-old Carlo Janka will go out.

The Swiss who was christened the "Iceman" after a superb hat-trick of World Cup wins in Colorado last December finally delivered in the giant slalom here yesterday.

He went last of the serious contenders after gaining a first-run lead over Romed Baumann, an Austrian desperate to turn back a tide of criticism at home over the disastrous showing of the once mightiest of Alpine nations.

There was huge pressure on Baumann in the second run and it showed as he failed to reach the podium. However, the Austrian yearnings quickly enough became academic as Janka fulfilled the promise that had made him the hard favourite for the blue riband of the games, the downhill.

Janka was written off after that failure but his response on the giant slalom course was one of the most superb vindications ever seen in the sport. His combined time of 2.37.83 left him 0.39 of a second ahead of his nearest challenger, Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud. Another Norwegian, the tough veteran Aksel Lund Svindal, took bronze.

For Janka it was a moment of the sweetest satisfaction. He said: "There were few nerves going down last but really I was quite confident. I realised I just had to keep cool and not make a mistake. Today I knew that it was up to me. I believed in myself and it came off. The feeling is beautiful, fantastic."

Bode Miller, who was competing for a record fourth medal in these Olympics, slid out of contention after failing to complete his run.